Thursday, April 19, 2012
Trafalgar's Lamb Burger Experience
The boss and I wanted to celebrate some hard-earned work victories and kept planning to go celebrate with a burger. We're both burger fanatics and he mentioned that his brother (also a burger fanatic) had told him that he had eaten what he believed to be "The Best Burger in Vancouver" at Trafalgar's Bistro. After many attempts to co-ordinate schedules and plan for an out of office lunch, we finally made the short trek (drive) from our office to Trafalgar's just west of Arbutus on 16th. I called ahead to make a reservation for lunch and while doing so got to chatting with a friendly staff member, I mentioned the burger and she acknowledged it's reputation..."Yes, indeed, it is the best burger you'll have." As if the hype for this burger experience wasn't built up enough!
It’s quite sophisticated and mature, and it still has a warm, cozy and intimate atmosphere that’s very charming. It feels a little bit "fancy" and upscale, but the service is friendly and they do welcome you like a neighbourhood restaurant would.
We briefly perused the menu...but already knew exactly what we were ordering. I did ask our server about it "What's better, the beef burger or the lamb burger?" and she started to rave, calling the lamb burger her very favourite, and mentioned that the caramelized onion jam is the perfect compliment to the meat. Big surprise: We both ordered the lamb burger! I ordered mine with half salad/ half fries. The server asked how well-done we wanted the meat and we both ordered medium. She also asked if we wanted to up grade our regular fries to "Bistro Fries", the boss did and I opted to stick with regular. A short 15 minutes and our burgers arrived.
Lamb Burger ($15) aioli, aged cheddar, onion jam, arugula, fries, house brioche bun.
Dang! This was a delicious looking plate. It was finally time to dig into this famous lamb burger. It was cooked a little more than medium, but it was definitely not well-done, over cooked or dry. It was juicy and tender and had a real "melt in your mouth" factor.
As for the other burger elements, I loved the light, fluffy, slightly brioche bun and the plentiful amount of fresh, peppery arugula, but I didn't even really notice the cheese. The red onion jam was slightly sweet and the aioli was garlicky- the two sauces combined to create a nice, blended seamless mellow flavour that let the meat do the talking. For me...I felt like the whole burger was delicious but was missing a flavour punch or kick. Definitely delicious, quality ingredients that were extremely well executed for a delicious burger but I wasn't drooling over the memory of this burger days later. In short, maybe if it hadn't been so hyped up, I would've been wow-ed. There is no disputing that this is an exceptional burger but I can't say it's the best I've had.
The server ended up making my regular fries Bistro Fries instead....and boy, was I happy about the mix up. These fries are unreal and very similar to the ACC Fries from American Cheesesteak Co. The Bistro Fries are dolled up with truffle oil, parmesan, herbs, and served with an aioli dip. They are tender, soft, crispy, and buttery, the cheese shavings and herb sprinklings are generous, and these fries tasted like delicious INDULGENCE. The garlic aioli was a nice compliment but a bit too rich...I ended up getting a side of ketchup, hot sauce and mustard. I also really enjoyed my side salad which was definitely not your standard bag of mixed greens. It was lightly dressed with a vinaigrette and had little bits of tender kale in the mix.
All in all, Trafalgars is definitely a nice place to go for a slightly upscale lunch. The atmosphere is beautiful and classy but not pretentious, the service was friendly and prompt, and the food was delicious. But the best burger in vancouver?....not sure it takes the title.